Since Katrina the St. Tammany Parish libraries have been offering English tutoring to Spanish speaking people due to the influx of spanish speaking people that moved into our area as we rebuilt. Yesterday I was at the Causeway Branch and browsing Biographies in the back. Political biographies to be exact. Which is ironic in this story.
There is a woman I recognize from the library. Believe she works there. She is sitting at a table with a Hispanic young man. Maybe in his twenties? She is tutoring him on English and teaching him the difference in words. For instance she was explaining quantity vs. quality.
So I am looking over the books and move closer to where they are seated. I hear her say "Liberal". The young man repeats the word. She asks him if he knows what it means? He says he does not. She asks if he follows politics. He must have indicated he did not because she proceeded to explain further.
"Ok. There are basically two political groups. Conservatives and Liberals. Conservatives are the ones who don't want "you people" here." He asks what she means. ("You people" Really, that is what you go with?)
"Conservatives don't want "you people" to live in our country. They don't want "you people" to cross the border. Do you know what is going on in Arizona?" He must have indicated he did not.
"Would you believe that they actually passed a law in Arizona that forbids "you people" from being here without papers. The Conservatives are the ones that did that. The liberals are fighting it in court. Conservatives believe you should just pull yourself up by your bootstraps. I mean we all came here from other countries. America was built with people immigrating."
At that point I had to walk away. I wanted to turn around so badly and speak my mind. I wanted to tell him that not every conservative is against people coming into our country. We just want it to be done legally like our ancestors did. We want people who live here to pay taxes like we do. We don't want to pay for your medical care and other services you get without paying taxes to live here.
I don't know about her ancestors, but "my people" checked in at Ellis Island. Got papers to prove it.